I had a blog post queued up for today that I’m really excited about, but I couldn’t send out the regularly scheduled message. I will publish it tomorrow. Today anything else seems trivial to me.
I live in Oakland, which some people say is the up-and-coming Brooklyn of the West Coast, and many people think is scary, and I think my neighborhood is marvelous because it is friendly and racially diverse in a way that no other place in the United States is that I have ever lived in or visited.
Last night I got an email from about the Ferguson ruling and then I heard the whirring helicopters overhead. The police were out to monitor the hundreds of people who started streaming by my building. Hundreds of people shut down the freeway for hours. I did not join the protests. I went to dance tango. But something in me ached. My heart.
How can we just go on with everyday life when it has become so commonplace for young people (black young people) to be killed by the police?
This morning on the radio I heard about a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland (such a cute face) who was killed by police recently at a playground because he had a toy gun. According to this Cleveland report, the shooting came “after officers responded to a 911 call about someone waving what the caller described as a ‘probably fake’ gun.”
According to a New York Times editorial today “The Meaning of the Ferguson Riots“:
“The case resonated across the country — in New York City, Chicago and Oakland — because the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast. This point was underscored last month in a grim report by ProPublica, showing that young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk — 21 times greater — of being shot dead by police than young white men. These statistics reflect the fact that many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.”
I ran into an acquaintance at a cafe today. Jonathan Bender helps people with self-expression and personal transformation through reclaiming their voices. We talked about Michael Brown and Ferguson. Jonathan stayed up late making a video blog about speaking up about what matters most to us, whether that’s in conversation, on social media, in speaking, on a blog, or anywhere at all.
Jonathan’s message is: “What you say matters. What you don’t say equally matters. We can only create our world when we take responsibility for speaking up to say what we believe.”
This is true. I want to speak up more.
The way you speak up will be unique to you. What you say will be unique to you. I don’t know that you feel about this case but I assume you have deeply help beliefs about the world.
Whatever matters most to you, speaking up matters. Your voice will ripple in ways that you cannot imagine.